Causal Theories of Actions Revisited


  • Fangzhen Lin The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Mikhail Soutchanski Ryerson University


It has been argued that causal rules are necessary for representing both implicit side-effects of actions and action qualifications, and there have been a number different approaches for representing causal rules in the area of formal theoriesof actions. These different approaches in general agree on rules without cycles. However, they differ on causal rules with mutual cyclic dependencies, both in terms of how these rules are supposed to be represented and their semantics. In this paper we show that by adding one more minimization to Lin's circumscriptive causal theory in the situation calculus, we can have a uniform representation of causal rules including those with cyclic dependencies. We also demonstrate that sometimes causal rules can be compiled into logically equivalent successor state axioms even in the presence of cyclical dependencies between fluents.




How to Cite

Lin, F., & Soutchanski, M. (2011). Causal Theories of Actions Revisited. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 25(1), 235-240. Retrieved from



AAAI Technical Track: Knowledge Representation and Reasoning